Authors: S. K. Hartley
Tags: #College, #Transferred and Read
‘The only thing standing in the way of your own success,
‘Expect the unexpected,
because the unexpected is expecting you.’
‘You were put here for a reason,
and the reason is here.
You just have to find it.’
We could be light years apart,
but you influence me every single day.
I miss you. I love you.
I was sitting on my bed doing homework when mom got the call. The call that would shatter my world and everything in it.
It was just a regular Saturday. My brother, Tate, his best friend, Logan, and I had been fighting over what we wanted to watch on the TV. Mom had become frustrated with our bickering, so she had sent us to our rooms to do our homework while she prepared dinner. It was mac and cheese, my favorite.
Dad had gone out to the store to pick up some last minute things that mom had forgotten, he had asked me if I wanted to go with him. Normally, I would go everywhere with my dad, being ten-years-old, I was still a daddy’s girl. But, it was a cold night and my favorite TV show had just started when he had asked me; I said no. Little did I know I would regret not going with him for the rest of my life.
I remember running down the stairs into the hallway, finding mom screaming on the floor, her hand clutching at her chest as though her heart had just been ripped from her body. Tears fell from her beautiful blue eyes as the phone was ripped from the wall, lying next to her in a tangled mess.
She was trying to say something, but her voice was barely audible from the harsh rise and fall from her chest, heaving from the devastating words that were trying to escape her mouth.
Logan’s mom, Mrs. White, had heard my mother’s screams from next door. The howling that poured from my mother’s lips were drowning out the regular noise of everyday life, life that was carrying on without us, while we stood frozen in time. Mrs. White came rushing into the house to see what was going on, finding mom and I on the floor. I was gently holding and rocking her trying to sooth her, while Tate and Logan stood there wide-eyed, not knowing what to do.
The next thing I knew, I was in a cold, white room filled with the smell of anesthetic and cleanliness. The four walls felt as though they were caving in on me, I couldn’t breathe. Mom was crying hysterically into Mrs. White’s neck, as she tried to comfort her, stealing glances at us kids. Ensuring we were okay. But I was far from it. Apart from my mom’s heartbreaking sobs, the rest of the room was silent, making my ever-increasing heartbeat violently pound in my ears.
My eyes seemed to focus on a mass of small white daisies that adorned the walls of the room. Ten white petals, one yellow center. I started counting in my head, trying to soothe my rapid heartbeat. One, two, three …
Sitting on a worn blue sofa, I noticed scratches and pieces missing. The history of broken families waiting for news or comfort was unmistakable, as I felt it seep into my bones. Perched on the edge of the cushion I was still counting the faded white daises. Four, five, six …
My attention was suddenly drawn to a man in a white coat as he walked through the door with the most pained expression on his face I had ever seen. I was frozen on the spot, as words I didn’t understand poured from him.
Revived at the scene.
The words replayed over and over in my mind, trying to understand what the man was saying, but my mind was in a haze of confusion. The only thing that made any sense to me was to be with my daddy, so I ran.
I ran until my lungs burned and my eyes stung with unshed tears, trying desperately to find the only man who ever truly held my heart. The man who would kiss the scrapes and cuts better, the man who taught me how to ride a bike or tell me that Sleeping Beauty was just plain lazy. My Daddy.
“Daddy!” I screamed, hoping I would hear his voice and this nightmare would end. I was frantic, suddenly in a corridor filled with endless rooms and adjoining corridors, not knowing which direction I should take. Daddy had always said, “If you’re lost, walk north. You will always find your way if you walk north.” So I did. I started walking, ignoring the curious looks from other people as I looked in every room down the long, narrow corridor that housed endless patient rooms.
Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks when one of the patients caught my eye. I don’t know what it was, but when I stepped into the doorway, I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off the man in front of me. His eyes were so many shades of blue; I could get lost trying to count them. Tiny flecks of gold entwined around the deeper shades, making his eyes pop with so much more intensity. But it was the haunted look that grasped my attention. The intense look made it appear as though he had been through plenty of distress and trauma and I couldn’t look away. But, he turned his face away from me, and it was enough for me to snap back into the present and find my daddy.
With my fear escalating, I started running, frantically checking every room and wondering if I was ever going to find him. I made it to the last door in the long, narrow corridor, I finally found him.
It was the eerie silence I noticed first, it was hauntingly unsettling, rocketing my fear to its peak. Swallowing hard, I tried to suppress the ungodly urge to vomit when I walked into the room, my eyes quickly landing on my father. The man who had shielded me since I was first placed in his arms as an innocent child. I gasped, he didn’t look like the man I had seen hundreds of times before; he looked broken and damaged.
His eyes were swollen shut, showing off the darkest of bruises I had ever seen, dried blood stuck to his now matted hair, as a bandage hid the worst of his injuries. I made my way towards him, wanting so desperately to hold his hand. The potent smell of car fumes penetrated my nostrils as my eyes took in the hellish nightmare before me.
“Daddy” I whimpered, I was convinced he was fast asleep. But he didn’t answer. Now closer, I could see more apparent injuries. Part of his ear was torn and deep scratches adorned his once-beautiful face, but it was the unseen injuries that had caused the most damage. I would later find out that the force of the impact had caused irreversible damage and that he wouldn’t ever wake up.
I was frozen with fear that I may never get to see my daddy again. It was enough to encourage me to move to his bedside to attempt to hold his hand.
With my whole body trembling, I tentatively placed my tiny hand in his, my tear-filled eyes watching and waiting for any sign of movement. It was something I would always remember; realizing his once warm, welcoming hands were cold and pale.
There were tubes and wires everywhere, machines beeped and flashed numbers while a screen above my father’s head flickered with different colored lines and more numbers that I didn’t understand.
Why is this happening?
Why isn’t he waking up?
Why … why?
Fear, devastation and pain crashed through me like a tsunami, each and every crash of the waves caused my lungs to burn and my heart to pound viciously. It was becoming harder and harder to breathe with every passing second. With my throat restricting and burning, I screamed out in emotional and physical pain of what lay before me.
“Daddy! Wake up, you have to wake up. Please don’t leave me. “ I said in a hoarse whisper, but he didn’t move to try and comfort me, he just lay there, still and lifeless. “Daddy please, I promise to do my homework and stop arguing with Tate and, and I will … I will. Please, I need you, daddy!” I pleaded but he still didn’t move.
Scrambling, I tried to climb onto the bed where he lay, wanting to place my head on his chest like I always did when he comforted me. I want him to kiss the top of my head and tell me everything was going to be okay, but he didn’t. I was suddenly aware of voices. People were screaming and crying, drowning out the machines that were carefully positioned around my daddy. Arms swiftly wrapped around me, pulling me away from my daddy.
“No!” I screamed in protest trying to hold on for dear life to my father’s lifeless hand. “Let me go!” I shouted between sobs.